Wagon Train: Season 5, Episode 11

The Traitor (13 Dec. 1961)

TV Episode  |   |  Western
7.4
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Convicted of horse-stealing, Flint McCullough receives from Christopher Hale a sentence of 20 lashes to be followed by banishment from the wagon train. These lashes on his back then serve ... See full summary »

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Title: The Traitor (13 Dec 1961)

The Traitor (13 Dec 1961) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Denny Miller ...
Duke Shannon (credit only)
Nick Adams ...
Sam Upton
Terry Wilson ...
Frank McGrath ...
...
Madge Upton
Myron Healey ...
Sgt. Oakes
...
Meurte
Stacy Keach Sr. ...
Maj. Hansen (as Stacy Keach)
Alex Montoya ...
Mexican Bandit
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Storyline

Convicted of horse-stealing, Flint McCullough receives from Christopher Hale a sentence of 20 lashes to be followed by banishment from the wagon train. These lashes on his back then serve McCullough as a "badge of dishonor" as he infiltrates a criminal gang headed by a man known only as Angel de Muerte. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

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Western

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13 December 1961 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Bill Hawks: I don't have the stomach to lay a bullwhip to the back of a friend of mine, no matter what he's done.
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User Reviews

 
Flint McCullough -- bullwhipped and love-smitten
14 December 2006 | by (Minneapolis) – See all my reviews

Pretending to "go bad" in order to get the goods on the bad guys is an old plot device, and thus most viewers probably weren't fooled when Flint McCullough seemed to suddenly degenerate into a horse-thief. The subsequent flogging he suffers -- 20 lashes! -- then allows Flint to make contact with the notorious bandit Angel de Muerte who's been responsible for such crimes as attacking and slaughtering wagon trains. Along the way Flint meets Madge Upton (Jeanne Cooper) and her younger brother Sam (Nick Adams). Sam is the one who agrees to introduce him to the bandit.

This episode lingers in the memory for three reasons: (1) Nick Adams' rather over-the-top performance; (2) the almost-romantic relationship which grows up between Flint and Madge, (she tends to his bloody back); and (3) the 20 lashes which Flint receives across his bare back while tied to the side of a wagon. (The scene discreetly fades out after only eight lashes have been delivered.) Wouldn't 10 or 12 lashes have been enough to establish his criminal credentials? (Though occurring on TV, this flogging ranks 52nd in the book: "Lash! The Hundred Great Scenes of Men Being Whipped in the Movies.") Robert Horton plays Flint McCullough and thinking up ways in which he'd be required to take his shirt off seemed to be a popular activity among the "Wagon Train" writers. (Unlike other actors, Horton never shaved that hairy chest of his.) If, during these "beefcake" scenes, Horton could be put into bondage and tortured, so much the better. (And all this took place during the days when television was regarded as "family entertainment.") Jeanne Cooper (Corbin Bernsen's mother) gives a fine performance as Madge Upton and the bond which grows up between Madge and Flint seems genuine, even in its inevitably transitory nature.

Other episodes in which Horton gets to sweat, squirm, and suffer are (1) "The Gabe Carswell Story" in which he's staked-out spreadeagle style and (2) "The Ruth Marshall Story" in which he's suspended by his wrists.


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